Tips and Advice

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DIY: "Don't Injure Yourself"

17th May 2012

DIY: "Don't Injure Yourself"

As the weather keeps improving, the nation’s DIY-ers will be coming out of the woodwork as the DIY season sets in. Chiropractor Fiona Webb from Kingsbridge Chiropractic Clinic warns that care should be taken before everyone rushes off to get to grips with those home improvement jobs they have been putting off… So here’s some advice from Fiona to keep your DIY as pain-free as possible.

“Some activities are more stressful on your body than others,” says Fiona, “so treat these activities like exercise and make sure you warm up a little before tackling those heavy duty tasks around the home.”

Some of the areas Fiona has highlighted are:

  • Painting and Decorating – including painting those awkward areas such as ceilings, and papering the walls.
  • Pruning and Patios – the ‘room outside’ has a lot to answer for with laying patios and digging among the worst offenders.
  • Moving and Lifting – lifting heavy items, shifting furniture and twisting on ladders .

So if you are planning a new patio or a splash of colour for your sitting room, Chiropractor Fiona Webb has this advice for you:

Reach for the sky

If you are planning on painting a ceiling – think about getting the largest amount of paint on in the shortest space of time. Use a paint pad or roller with an extended handle and hold it at chest height. Keep your head as neutral as possible and keep facing forward so you don’t over exert your neck. If you can lie down – do!

Don’t twist again

If you have to use a ladder – treat it like your dancing partner. Always face it and move the ladder regularly, keeping your shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction.

Don’t start with heavy-duty gardening

Start with the lighter jobs like mowing the lawn and then move on. If you are pruning use long handled secateurs and get as close to the plants as you can, and a top tip is to prune before you plant!

Look after your knees

If laying a patio keep the slab close to your body and bend your knees. It is sometimes better to bend one knee rather two as your supporting leg gives you a position of strength.

Treat DIY like normal exercise

So you need to warm up and warm down

Dress appropriately

Don’t wear tight constricting clothes

Vary your activity

Spend no more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing and take regular breaks

Spread the weight

If you are planning a trip to the local DIY store and buying heavy items like cement – buy multiple smaller bags rather than one big bag. Smaller items are easier and safer to carry. But if there is no other option – ask someone else to help carry it to the car, and then when you get home, shovel out smaller quantities straight from the car and put it in to small containers.

Most importantly, treat pain as a warning sign

… and don’t ignore it. If you start to ache then stop what you are doing.

And if you do hurt yourself, seek advice from a spinal specialist.

“Chiropractic is best known for treating back and neck pain,” says Fiona, “but patients also consult chiropractors regarding a variety of other conditions. Treatment involves gentle, specific spinal movements to allow joints that are stiff to begin moving properly.”

Please click here for a short video on DIY posture.

Please contact Fiona to book a chiropractic appointment at Kingsbridge Chiropractic Clinic or Nature’s Larder in Ivybridge.

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